Hooked - (Stacia Naquin)
Updated: 10/11/2013 - I'm SO CLOSE to being able to do a pull-up. So my trainer introduced something new into my training.
Some men died heroes, taking multiple rounds to shield their girlfriends from gunfire.
A three-time vet served overseas only to lose his life senselessly in a place that is supposed to be safe.
A newlywed, members of the military, a budding sports reporter, a recent high school graduate, a devoted father, a beloved daughter. A little girl.
A human portrait is emerging out of the unspeakable tragedy at an Aurora movie theater. As grieving families learn the fates of their loved ones--up in the air for so long Friday--the stories of those killed in the shooting spree are coming out.
Sullivan, whose father gave an impassioned plea earlier Friday for help finding his son, was at the latest Batman movie to celebrate his 27th birthday. In a statement the family said:
“The Sullivan family lost a cherished member of their family today. Alex was smart, funny, and above all loved dearly by his friends and family...Alex was a gentle giant, known and loved by so many. He always had a glowing smile on his face and he made friend with everyone”
A makeshift memorial for the victims included birthday cards left for Sullivan, who turned 27 Friday. Tweets from the victim indicate that he was anticipating one of the best weekends of his life.
"Oh man one hour till the movie and it's going to be the best BIRTHDAY ever."
The entire weekend was supposed to be a special one for Sullivan, who was also celebrating his one-year wedding anniversary Sunday.
"We're shocked. We're numb. We're sick. Our hearts are broken, and we're crushed," Shelly Fradkin, the mother of one of Sullivan's close friends said.
Sullivan, who worked at Century 16, is the only employee at this time known to have lost a life or been injured in Friday's rampage.
Medek's cousin Anita Busch said the long wait to know anything about was torturous, but that learning her 23-year-old cousin was among the casualties at least brought peace to the family.
"It took 19 hours to hear from law enforcement, which was agonizing and I thought just downright cruel to all the victims families," Busch said. "We had been desperately trying to find her."
Busch, who said her cousin was "very spiritual and close to God," implored the public to not let the tragedy shatter their belief in a benevolent God.
"I hope this evil act...doesn't shake people's faith in God."
A number of frantic families like Medek's remained in limbo for hours, wondering if their loved ones were simply missing, or among the 10 deceased, whose bodies were not removed from the theater until Friday night.
John Larimer, Jesse Childress
Two service members lost their lives in Friday's rampage.
The Navy confirmed that Petty Officer Third Class John Larimer was killed in the shooting.
"I am incredibly saddened by the loss of Petty Officer John Larimer," Cmdr. Jeffrey Jakuboski said.
Larimer, the youngest of five, was recalled fondly by neighbors in his hometown of Crystal Lake, Ill. as funny and good-humored.
"We love you John, and we will miss you always," Larimer's parents said in a statement.
Larimer's family said they are working with the Navy to bring him back to Illinois.
The Air Force confirmed SSG Jesse Childress, 29, was also killed. Childress was a reservist in the Air Force, and worked as a cyber-systems operator.
Friends recalled Childress as kind-hearted, intelligent and fun to be around.
"He would help anyone and was always great for our Air Force unit," Tech Sgt. Alejandro Sanchez, who was on a bowling team with Childress, said.
"[Childress] was a great person, fun to be with, always positive and laughing. Really just an amazing person...I am so lucky to have been his friend," co-worker Ashley Wassinger said.
A second sailor and airman both survived the shooting.
Both men were stationed out of Buckley Air Force.
A former sailor, Jonathan Blunk, who served three tours in the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea, died saving his girlfriend Jansen Young's life, Young told the "Today Show."
"That's something he would do," friend James Gill said. "If he was going to choose a way to die, that's how he wanted to go--defending someone from a [person] like that."
Blunk, 26, was a father of two and hoped to re-enlist in the Navy, eventually working his way to becoming a Navy SEAL.
Alexander Jonathan Boik (A.J.), 18, had just graduated from high school and was bound for the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in the fall. In a statement, his family said:
"[AJ was] A wonderful, handsome, and loving 18-year-old young man, with a warm and loving heart. He enjoyed his friends and family, and always brought a smile and quick wit to every occasion. A.J. was loved by all that knew him. We want to try and focus on the beautiful lives that were ended and not the evil that is responsible. This is a time for us to remember our loved ones and cherish the memories we have of them."
Boik was attending "The Dark Knight Rises" with his girlfriend, who survived.
Matt McQuinn, 27, was also killed after sustaining gunshot wounds to the chest, shoulder and leg. His brother said in a Facebook post that McQuinn "died a hero" protecting his girlfriend Samantha Yowler from the gunshots. Yowler is reportedly in stable condition after being hit in the leg.
Rebecca Wingo, 32, is remembered as a bubbly, sweet person who loved life.
"Everyone is hurting right now," friend Gail Riffle said. "She was a gentle, sweet, beautiful soul."
Father Steve Hernandez took to Facebook to express the deep pain he felt over losing his daughter.
"I lost my daughter yesterday to a mad man. My grief right now is inconsolable. I hear she died instantly, without pain...however, the pain is unbearable...I sit her and resist this entry, however I feel I must, in disgust, in dismay, in prayer. I love you my daughter Rebecca, we all will miss you."
Cowden, the only victim older than 35, was at the movies with his two teenaged children, who both survived. His grieving family issued a statement:
"Loving father, outdoorsman and small business owner, Cowden was a true Texas gentleman that loved life and his family. A quick witted world traveler with a keen sense of humor, he will be remembered for his devotion to his children and for always trying his best to do the right thing, no matter the obstacle."
Cowden was 51.
The littlest victim had barely begun her life when the gunman cut it short. Six-year-old Veronica Moser's great-aunt confirmed to the Associated Press that the child was among those killed. Veronica's mother, 25-year-old Ashley Moser, remains in critical condition after being shot in the throat and abdomen.
According to another relative, Ashley has been calling for her daughter while slipping in and out of consciousness.
"Nobody can tell her about it," Ashley's cousin said. "She is in critical condition, but all she is asking about is her daughter."
Veronica was planning on starting swimming lessons Tuesday. Her great-aunt said the little girl loved life.
"She was a great little girl, excited about life--she should be at 6 years old."
Friday, the brother of 24-year-old Jessica Ghawi confirmed his sister's death. Ghawi has received much posthumous attention for having previously survived a mass shooting at a Toronto food court last month. In a now-chilling blog post, Ghawi commented afterward on her realization of just how precious life is.
"After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given," Ghawi wrote June 5.
Ghawi's death sparked an outpouring of condolences from sports reporters around the country, a number of whom Ghawi had interned under.
"She was always kind of a sponge as far as how she could be an even better journalist and sports broadcaster," Peter Burns with Mile High Sports radio in Denver said.
Ghawi was attending the movie with friend Brent Lowak, who was shot while trying to stop the bleeding on Ghawi's leg. While assisting his friend, Lowak realized she had been shot a second time, this time in the head.
Lowak is expected to survive.
Just one month before the shooting, Teves received his master's degree in counseling psychology from the University of Denver. His family said he was the type of person who drew people to him.
"He was a lovable person who made friends quickly and had a lot of them," his grandmother said.
Teves was with his girlfriend when the shootings began, and pushed her to the ground to ensure she was safe before trying to duck himself. Relatives say it was as he was trying to get down that the gunman shot him.
Teves' girlfriend live-tweeted from the scene, first tweeting around 12:37 a.m. that shots had been fired inside the theater, then 16 minutes later calling for prayers for Teves, who was still missing.
"We will miss him forever," aunt Barbara Slivinske said.
The following is the list of victims released by authorities Saturday:
--Jessica Ghawi, 24, of Denver; aspiring sports journalist
--Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6, whose mother was critically injured
--Matt McQuinn, 27, of Denver; technical support provider
--Alex Sullivan, 27, of Aurora; worked at Red Robin restaurant
-- Micayla Medek, 23, of Westminster, Colo., student at Aurora Community College
--John Larimer, 27, of Buckley Air Force Base, Navy cryptologist
--Jesse Childress, 29, of Thornton, Colo., Air Force cyber-systems operator
--Gordon W. Cowden, 51, of Aurora, small business owner and father of two teens
--Jonathan T. Blunk, 26, of Aurora, worked at a hardware store, served five years in the U.S. Navy.
--Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32, of Aurora customer relations representative at a mobile medical imaging company
--Alexander C. Teves, 24, of Phoenix, earned master's degree in counseling psychology in June from University of Denver
--Alexander J. Boik, 18, incoming freshman student at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design who planned to become an art teacher
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